Saints are sweating on the fitness of ever-present Cedric Soares ahead of Sunday’s clash at AFC Bournemouth.

The Portugese is one of only three Saints players to have played all 14 Premier League games this season, alongside Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand.

But he limped off during the latter stages of the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City with a hamstring injury, with Saints looking set for a point before Raheem Sterling’s dramatic winner.

Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino said: “We have to wait for Cedric now, he felt something in his hamstring.

“If we have to change player we change player because we need to be 100 per cent for what will be a difficult derby.”

Soares, who has made 75 Saints appearances in all competitions since signing in 2015, has only missed one Premier League game throughout 2017, the 2-1 win at Middlesbrough in May.

On that occasion, Jeremy Pied deputised and he may come back in for what would be only his second appearance of the season.

The Frenchman has only played for the U23s since the 2-0 EFL Cup defeat at home to Wolves in August.

And the knee injury that ruled him out for most of last season means he has only played 126 minutes of Premier League football since signing from Nice 16 months ago.

Pied was reunited with Claude Puel, his manager at Nice and Lyon, when he first arrived at St Mary’s, but the shock defeat at home to Wolves is his only appearance under Pellegrino.

Saints played with three centre-halves that night, a tactic Pellegrino deployed to better effect against City.

But the likelihood is that Saints will return to a back four against Bournemouth and Pied is not Pellegrino’s only option to replace Soares.

Centre-back Jack Stephens was not in the 16 at The Etihad but can play at right-back, as he did when he made his Premier League debut as a replacement for Soares in January.